Gout. Artwork of the bones of a foot, showing a tophus (swelling) due to gout. Gout is a metabolic disorder in which crystals of uric acid (magnified at upper right) precipitate in a joint, causing swelling (red) and excruciating pain. The pain and inflammation can be controlled with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin. Gout is ten times more common in men than women, and can affect men at any stage of their life. It usually only affects women after the menopause. Most sufferers only have one or a few attacks. In the case of chronic recurrence, drugs that lower blood uric acid levels can be taken, and purines (such as caffeine) and alcohol should be avoided.

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